Burlington Flint (chert): Nodules, Bifaces, and Points

ToddsPoint

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I started knapping in '85 using glass and chips from Indian sites. I finally found some knappers and got some real flint to use. I discovered that it would be really expensive learning knapping from "store bought" rocks. I needed a flint source that was free. The closest to my house was the Burlington outcrops on the IL River 100 mi. west of me.

I found flint! The Burlington formation runs from SE Iowa, down the Miss. River and into IL, then turns west into MO and on into a portion of OK. Geologically, Burlington is from the Mississippian Formation. On the IL geological map it formed in the limestone layer labeled Mvl. Mississippian, Lower Valmayern. It is bedded as opposed to nodular. In other words, it's a big continuous sheet. In the IL River Valley, you can see the bands of white flint exposed in the limestone bluff faces.

I saved 2 nice nodules from past hunts and here they are. The first if from MO, somewhere between Springfield and Branson. My host for the MO hunt had me so lost I'm not sure exactly where this MO stuff came from. It came from a construction site and shows no staining from creek water.

You can see the nice large spall that was removed. This is a large clean piece and would make many points.

The second nodule came out of a creek in Pike Co. IL. Way better than most you find, this clean nodule would make a nice point or two. Heat treating would also turn the yellow stain red. The caramel color on the outside is normal for creek Burlington from IL.

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ToddsPoint

ToddsPoint

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I have lots of bifaces of Burlington I saved over the years. I'll start with OK Burlington and work east.

These bifaces are made of "Peoria flint", the name the Okies gave it. It's just Burlington though.

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The next ones are from Branson and have been heated. Construction rock usually either stays white or turns light pink when heated.

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These last two also Branson/Springfield construction rock but these are not heated.

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ToddsPoint

ToddsPoint

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Now we go to E.MO., just south of St. Louis. The town of High Ridge built a new Sheriffs office on a big hill. They used heavy equipment to flatten the top of the hill. Tons of Burlington flint was unearthed and all the local knappers had a field day. This was back in the 90's or so. Here are 3 bifaces from the Sheriffs office rock, all raw.

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Two more from MO. First is from the famous Burlington(locally called Crescent) deposits along the Merrimac River south of St. Louis. It's been heated and turned red and purple. The larger one is raw and from a construction site west of St. Louis near the town of Harvester.

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ToddsPoint

ToddsPoint

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Now back in IL. These first 3 Hopewell bifaces are made from creek Burlington found in Pike Co. IL near the town of Pittsfield. Two of them came from the same nodule.

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Three more from the IL River Valley. Two raw and the larger one is heated.

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ToddsPoint

ToddsPoint

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That's all the Burlington bifaces I have. On to the points. The first frame is made from flint from W. of St. Louis between Harvester and St. Peters. Back in the 90's there was tons of construction going on. Whole neighborhoods being built along with shopping centers and factories. Lots of flint was exposed. Most of these have been heated.

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ToddsPoint

ToddsPoint

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Next two and final frames are Burlington from IL. The points with the green dots are not Burlington but live in the Burlington frame. All of these points are raw...no cooking (cheating!) just like the paleo and early archaic used the stuff.

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And there you have it. I hoped you liked the Burlington (Peoria, Crescent) tour. Gary
 

Jon Stewart

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Nice looking "everything". Points , bi faces and chert. I live in Michigan where we have very little knapping rock and that is hard to find. If I had access to what You have I would load up.
 

kansa54

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Great write up and beautiful points. It's hard to imagine how many modern points are floating around that are made of Burlington. Probably one of the most common material used. Beautiful when heat treated and easy to work. Thanks for sharing.
 

joshuaream

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Great post! Really interesting and educational.

From the raw material, you can certainly see why Missouri (and parts of Illinois) consistently produce some relatively larger points compared to other areas in the Midwest.

One question I've had for a while. Burlington obviously comes in big chunks, but why are those really big Mississippian spades and notched hoes usually made from Mill Creek or Kaolin? Or better said, why aren't more of them made from Burlington? You see some made from Burlington, but I think I've seen almost as many made from Dover over the years as Burlington examples and the Dover quarries were 200+ miles away.
 
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ToddsPoint

ToddsPoint

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You're right. And I can't answer that. The Mill Cr. spades and hoes are a result of the convenient tabular shape of the nodules, and the fact it is really tough stone suitable for working dirt. The big Burlington was out there, that's for sure. Gary
 

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